Private Robert Morrow V.C.
The Newmills War Hero
Memorials : Letter From America
Master of Ceremonies for the night, the Rev William Anderson, brought the historic event to a close by reading this very moving letter the VC group had just received from a relative of Private Morrow VC in USA.

To: Private Robert Morrow
One of my special guardian angels in heaven
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dear Uncle Robert,
I have a wee tear in my eye as I write this letter to you. You must be a puzzled a bit at receiving a letter from someone you've never met or even heard of. My name is Joyce and I am one of your sister's granddaughters. That sister was Elizabeth Morrow. She came to America as a young woman and settled in a village called Pontiac which is in the city of Warwick in the state of Rhode Island. It was there she met, fell in love with, and married Isaac Gilkenson. They had two sons and one daughter. Their 2nd son, Edwin, was my dad. It was from Gramma that I learned all about her very brave brother, Robert. (She was so proud of you, Robert).
'Joyce,' she said, 'My brother Robert, of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, was the recipient of the Victoria Cross for acts of extreme bravery during World War I. The medal was presented to our mother posthumously in London after his death.'
In more official language, as Linderkin states it, "Private Morrow rescued and carried to places of comparative safety several men who had been buried in the debris of the trenches wrecked by shellfire. He carried out this work on his own initiative and under heavy fire from the enemy."
She showed me a picture of you in uniform and also a picture of the fitting monument erected to honour you and the other soldiers of Newmills who perished fighting in WWI for what was right. I was fortunate, indeed, to have had the opportunity to visit Northern Ireland several times over the last45 years. I got to see the War Memorial in the centre of Newmills. I got to toast you for your bravery and courage and sacrifice at the village pub, the VC Inn, named after your Victoria Cross. How awesome to have a pub named in your honour!!! However, the most moving moment came when I visited the Royal Irish Fusilier Museum in Armagh. I not only got to see your Victoria Cross that was awarded to you but was allowed to hold it in the palm of my hand for a moment. I'll never forget the feelings that swept over me as I gazed on it; my heart swelled with pride knowing that I am part of the "Morrow" legacy. And my eyes were filled with tears of sadness knowing that your life was so short.
So, Uncle Robert, that brings us to today, May 21, 2015. 100 years have gone by since World War 1. I so wanted to be present for the events that have been held to honour you and your bravery, but that has not been possible.
On April 12th, the people of Newmills and others who knew you visited your grave in Belgium. They wanted to honour you for your heroism that day 100 years ago. Then on April 26th, the day you passed on, a beautiful commemorative paving stone honouring you for your heroism was unveiled as part of a very official and formal military-style event. My dear friends, Joan & Robert McAree, presented the wreath on my behalf at the War Memorial in Newmills. Several other of our relatives also presented wreaths.
Tonight, your Blue Circle plaque is being unveiled and a bridge named the VC Bridge in honour of you will be opened. God willing, my feet will walk across that bridge someday and my eyes will view the plaque and the paving stone.
Until then, I will cherish the photographs from the McArees and anyone else who would like to forward them to me.
Thanks to the people of Newmills, the Royal Irish Fusiliers, the British government, and anyone else for the time and effort you have taken to honour, in so many fitting ways, the brave men and women who were part of WW 1, especially my uncle, Private Robert Morrow.
Joyce, Lives in the USA
Great-niece of Private Morrow
Robert Morrow V.C. © 2015-21
National lottery